An after action review (AAR) is a qualitative review of actions taken to respond to an emergency as a means of identifying best practices, gaps and lessons learned. Following an emergency response to a public health event, an AAR seeks to identify what worked well or not and how these practices can be maintained, improved, institutionalized and shared with relevant stakeholders.
Organisational learning requires continuous assessment of performance, looking at successes and challenges and ensuring that learning takes place to support continuous improvement. The After Action Review (AAR) is a simple methodology for facilitating this assessment. It works by bringing together a team to discuss a task, event, activity or project, in an open and honest environment.
The systematic application of properly conducted AARs across an organization, or between organisations, can help to drive improvement, as well as, turn tacit knowledge into learning and build trust among team members. When applied correctly, AARs can become a key aspect of the internal system of learning and motivation, and should be part of all emergency management programmes.
The objectives of an AAR are to:
After action reviews can assess all functions of a country’s management of the emergency or identify specific functions to ensure focused discussion around high priority learning opportunities. The scope of the AAR will be determined largely by the nature and magnitude of the event being assessed, and the perceived learning opportunities.
A clearly defined scope and objectives will drive the preparation of tools for conducting the AAR, and determine the format and learning outcomes that can be expected.
Ideally, a national level AAR should be conducted after the end of all events, as the AAR is an important element of a culture of a continuous learning and improvement. Notwithstanding this, for the purposes of the IHR MEF an AAR should be conducted at least annually, if an event occurs that is appropriate for review. It should be noted that the same methodology can be applied to response actions while an event is still ongoing as a form of real-time evaluation or when the response has moved to a different phase (e.g., emergency response to recovery). In this case, however AAR planners should take care not to obstruct any response operations.
In general, one of the defining features of an AAR is that it is involves collective critical analyses of the response actions in order to identify best practises, lessons and challenges. For this reason, the suggested format will include facilitated discussion of relevant participants. Nevertheless, this may include different formats. Choosing the right format is critical to achieving the desired outcomes. Smaller scope AARs, or a review that focus on a single response function, can be conducted as a facilitated discussion with members of the team responsible for this function. For wider scope reviews, which may include multiple functions or the participation of different levels of government or sectors, a larger workshop format with facilitated discussions is required. In Member States where group work is not conducive to critical analyses, the AAR can be implemented as a series of interviews with individuals or small groups. Each format has its own value and a combination can also be employed to achieve desired results.
The simplicity of AAR is its strength. Essentially, the logical sequence of how to generate and capture feedback from participants in all AAR forms follows the same basic sequence:
1. Document: Establish how actions actually were implemented in contrast to how they were supposed to or normally happen, according to plans.
2. Identify and analyse: Compare and understand the difference and identify what worked and what did not work. Identify the root causes that led to success or failure.
3. Improve: Identify actions to strengthen or improve performance
 IHR hazards include infectious disease, chemical and radiological-related hazards, and food safety.
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Djibouti||Planned|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||8 February 2019||Planned|
|Western Pacific Region||Lao People's Democratic Republic||1 December 2017 to 31 December 2018||Conducted||Dengue|
|Western Pacific Region||Cambodia||1 July 2018 to 31 July 2018||Conducted||Methanol poisoning AAR|
|African Region||Cabo Verde||25 February 2019 to 1 March 2019||Planned|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Kuwait||1 April 2019 to 30 April 2019||Planned|
|European Region||Serbia||Planned||West Nile 2019|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Tunisia||18 April 2019 to 19 April 2019||Planned||Flooding|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Kuwait||Planned|
|African Region||Nigeria||21 August 2017 to 22 August 2017||Conducted||Lassa fever AAR|
|South-East Asia Region||Myanmar||15 October 2017||Conducted||H1N1|
|Western Pacific Region||Lao People's Democratic Republic||1 November 2017 to 30 November 2017||Conducted||Dengue|
|South-East Asia Region||Bangladesh||Planned|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Iran (Islamic Republic of)||18 August 2018 to 19 August 2018||Conducted|
|South-East Asia Region||India||Planned|
|African Region||Nigeria||13 August 2018 to 15 August 2018||Conducted|
|African Region||South Africa||Planned||Listeriosis|
|African Region||Cabo Verde||1 October 2018 to 5 October 2018||Conducted||Cape Verde - Malaria|
|African Region||Nigeria||2 July 2018 to 4 July 2018||Conducted||Monkeypox|
|African Region||Nigeria||28 May 2018 to 31 May 2018||Conducted||Cholera|
|African Region||Benin||17 July 2018 to 20 July 2018||Conducted||Lassa fever AAR|
|African Region||Burkina Faso||16 April 2018 to 19 April 2018||Conducted||Dengue AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Viet Nam||14 December 2016||Conducted||Zika Virus Disease AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Lao People's Democratic Republic||25 January 2016 to 29 January 2016||Conducted||cVDPV AAR 25-29 Jan, 23 May-10 June and 15-19 August|
|Western Pacific Region||Lao People's Democratic Republic||26 October 2016 to 27 October 2016||Conducted||Avian Influenza H5N1 AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Cambodia||8 July 2016||Conducted||Avian Influenza H5N1 AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Cambodia||15 March 2016||Conducted||Foodborne disease outbreak AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Viet Nam||1 September 2017 to 31 October 2017||Conducted||Dengue AAR|
|South-East Asia Region||Maldives||18 September 2017 to 22 September 2017||Conducted||H1N1 AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Lao People's Democratic Republic||25 December 2017 to 27 December 2017||Conducted||Hepatitis A AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Cambodia||23 March 2017||Conducted||Methanol poisoning AAR|
|African Region||Madagascar||2 July 2018 to 6 July 2018||Conducted||Madagascar – Plague||RT Madagascar20_09_2018.pdf|
|European Region||Romania||12 March 2018 to 15 March 2018||Conducted||Measles, West Nile Virus|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Sudan||Planned||Sudan - Dengue|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Pakistan||14 May 2018 to 16 May 2018||Conducted||Pakistan - Dengue|
|African Region||Senegal||5 March 2018 to 9 March 2018||Conducted||Senegal - Dengue|
|African Region||Democratic Republic of Congo||Planned||Democratic Republic of the Congo - Ebola|
|African Region||Chad||23 July 2018 to 27 July 2018||Conducted||Chad - Hepatitis E|
|African Region||Burundi||9 April 2018 to 14 April 2018||Conducted||Malaria AAR|
|Eastern Mediterranean Region||Morocco||23 January 2018 to 26 January 2018||Conducted||Brucellosis AAR|
|African Region||Uganda||5 March 2018 to 9 March 2018||Conducted||Marburg AAR|
|African Region||Togo||24 October 2017 to 27 October 2017||Conducted||Lassa fever and Meningitis AAR|
|African Region||Sierra Leone||1 September 2017 to 30 September 2017||Conducted||Landslide AAR|
|African Region||Nigeria||4 June 2018 to 7 June 2018||Conducted||Lassa fever AAR|
|African Region||Niger||20 November 2017 to 24 November 2017||Conducted||Rift Valley fever AAR|
|European Region||Netherlands||11 July 2017||Conducted||Polio AAR|
|African Region||Namibia||11 December 2017 to 15 December 2017||Conducted||Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever AAR|
|African Region||Mozambique||24 July 2017 to 28 July 2017||Conducted||Cholera AAR|
|African Region||Mauritania||18 September 2017 to 22 September 2017||Conducted||Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever AAR|
|European Region||Iceland||4 July 2017||Conducted||Gastro intestinal illness AAR|
|African Region||Central African Republic||13 November 2017 to 17 November 2017||Conducted||Cholera AAR|
|Western Pacific Region||Cambodia||11 December 2017 to 15 December 2017||Conducted||Trichinellosis AAR|
|African Region||Benin||10 July 2017 to 14 July 2017||Conducted||Lassa fever AAR|
|African Region||Angola||20 November 2017 to 24 November 2017||Conducted||Yellow fever AAR|
|African Region||Burkina Faso||13 February 2017 to 15 February 2017||Conducted||Burkina Faso – Dengue|
|African Region||United Republic of Tanzania||14 August 2017 to 18 August 2017||Conducted||Tanzania AAR Cholera|